Living Colour, The Family Stand, Earl Greyhound and Danielia Cotton put on a show heard all the way in Wasilia.
It was a night of music with a purpose and everyone stepped up. Here are some of my notes from Wednesday night:
Danielia Cotton. Not only did she dedicate "Rare Child" to Obama, but she ended her set with a powerful rendition of Prince’s "Purple Rain".
Earl Greyhound. Here’s a group I’ve heard about, especially taking note after they showed up a few times on the Best of 2007 lists. Wow. Basically, they tore it up. Funny, but it wasn’t in that overt, energetic way that, say, a Game Rebellion or Janelle Monae performs. It was like their energy came through their sound while they seemed physically reserved. It’s like they were doing some kind of conjuring. Like they were 21st century channels for the Hoochie Coochie Man, The Voodoo Child, The Funk Doctor. Maybe I was entranced by Kamara Thomas (below), looking like Angela Davis with a bass and not afraid to take a wide-legged stance to better ride the groove. Nice contrast with the flower print dress she wore.
The Family Stand. Let’s just get this out of the way: The Family Stand never disappoints. First, St. Victor looked fabulous! The last time I saw here was at BoldasLIVE last year and, in the interim, homegirl–who looked great then–has been on the Archie Bell and the Drells’ "Tighten Up" plan. Bravo! Music-wise, they played favorites such as "The Last Temptation", "New World Order", "In the Name of What?", and "Sweet Liberation". They also gave us a taste of new material with songs "Definition" and "How I Got Over", a grindy rock groove. Oh, yes, I’m looking forward to hearing the new album! And, with a pointed and entertaining twist, they changed their anthem "The Education of Jaime" to "The Education of Sarah". In fact, Sandra prefaced the song by framing Sarah Palin as the offspring of Karl Rove and Ann Coulter.
Living Colour. I have an admission: Wednesday night was the first time I ever saw Living Colour perform. No, seriously. I’ve seen every band member in some other incarnation: Vernon solo or with Masque, Corey solo, Will on his projects and Doug with Mos Def as part of Black Jack Johnson. Individually, I’ve loved and respected their musicianship and know that they’re all great people. But to see them together as a unit (and to see it right in front of the stage) was a real treat. For example, though he doesn’t show it much, Vernon can turn on that playful, but real, rock star swagger. Doug’s masterful in coloring the sounds, and he has a ridiculous effect kit. It made me smile to catch Will smile as he killed his drum kit. And Corey is a force of nature. The set included "Middleman", "Ignorance is Bliss", "Type", "Go away" and "Time’s up" + a few others. They changed up the tempo and did a nice cover of Tracy Chapman’s "Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution". The set ended with Corey’s eff you’s to Palin, Guiliani and McCain and his repeated declarations, "We are all community organizers!" He leaves the stage, and the band continues over this intense rockin’ head nod, which I’m sure they heard all the way in Wasilia.
Not sure how much money was raised, but I can tell you that the show did the other thing it was supposed to do: It girded and inspired us for the fight ahead. As the Obama campaign manager told the audience, we can make a difference in the election if we all just call ten (10) people in swing states between now and the election. I’ve done it and it’s really easy. Just go to the Action Center for details.
Unfortunately, I missed openers Viva Mayday, so if any of you saw them, drop a comment here on their performance.
The full photo set from the night is on Flickr, which you can check out here.
Correction: It’s Wasilla, Alaska, not Wasilia. My bad.